Gideon thought of himself as a nobody: “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15 ESV). However, God used that nobody: “The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with Himself and took possession of him” (Judges 6:34 AMP).
Thus outfitted, Gideon prepared to resist the annual invaders. Every harvest time for the past seven years, foreign hordes, swarming like locusts, had swept through their land, pillaging and plundering. When the dust from their returning camels settled, nothing was left except impoverished men, women, and children holed up in caves and dens.
Now, on the eighth year, emboldened Gideon mustered 32,000 men for a pushback. But God did not approve. The number was too much.
Gideon offered all who were in trembling fear of a fight to return home. Twenty-two thousand took the discharge.
The remaining 10,000 was also a number that was too much for God. He instructed Gideon how to reduce it.
Gideon ordered the volunteer army to drink from a nearby brook. Those who lapped water from their hand and did not kneel down to drink would stay. That number was 300, and it satisfied God. Why? That number was so low that the Israelites could never brag, “My own power has delivered me” (Judges 7:2 NASB). Indeed, when those 300 men utterly routed 135,000 invaders that year, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the victory went to God.
Thus God reinforced an eternal truth: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6 NASB).